Super fruits for your health

Here’s my list for the healthiest and locally-available fruits. Enjoy these super fruits for your health.

1. Banana. The banana is nature’s wonder fruit and the perfect fast food. Why is this fruit so healthy? Because it’s rich in potassium, vitamin B6, and folic acid. Its high potassium content prevents cramps and gives instant energy with its easily digestible starch. Its potassium content is also perfect for patients on water pills (diuretics), those with heart disease and high blood pressure.

A medium-sized banana has 95 calories, more than an apple but less than a mango. Bananas are also the perfect antacid, coating the stomach and preventing stomach ulcers. Their high vitamin B6 also helps women suffering from premenstrual syndrome.

In The Healthy Food Directory by Michael Van Straten, the author ranks bananas near the top because bananas help alleviate 14 medical conditions including diarrhea, fatigue, heartburn, insomnia, nausea, menstrual problems, kidney problems, fluid retention, and circulatory problems. The doctor-recommended BRAT diet for patients with diarrhea stands for banana, rice, apple, and tea.

2. Apples. The Mayo Clinic ranks apples as one of the world’s healthiest fruits. Apples are an excellent source of pectin, which is a soluble fiber that can lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels. Pectin also binds with heavy metals like lead and mercury, and helps the body eliminate these pollutants. Fresh apples are also good sources of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your body cells from damage. Apples can help prevent constipation, arthritis, gout, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea. Apples are an excellent diet food — only 47 calories in an apple. Even the smell of an apple has a calming effect. Apple pie, apple juice, fresh apples are all great.

3. Citrus fruits like oranges, calamansi, suha (pomelo), dalandan, and lemon. The overflowing amounts of vitamin C in citrus fruits are the reason for their high ranking. Locally, we have calamansi, suha, and dalandan. Oranges and lemons are splendid, too, but are more costly. Vitamin C may alleviate inflammatory conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also protects the heart and boosts the immune system. That’s why it’s good for preventing colds. 

Citrus fruits contain a fair amount of folate and potassium. Folate lowers homocysteine levels in the body and may reduce heart disease. The potassium in citrus fruits helps to lower blood pressure, too. All citrus fruits contain fiber, especially in the membranes separating the sections. For that reason, when you eat a fresh orange or grapefruit, it is always best to try to eat a bit of the white membrane around the juicy sections of the fruit.

4. Strawberries. Strawberries are believed to help fight cancer, gout, arthritis, and anemia. Strawberries contain high amounts of vitamin C, as well as iron, fiber, and pectin. They also contain powerful antioxidants, which may help prevent cancer and heart disease. New evidence suggests that strawberries may have anti-viral properties, too. It is best eaten fresh and ripe.

5. Papayas. Thanks to the Spaniards who introduced them to Manila in the sixteenth century, papayas are now grown throughout the country. Like other orange-colored fruits, papayas contain large amounts of beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) and vitamin C. Hence, they are good for the skin and the immune system. Papayas also contain papain, an enzyme that helps in digestion. For people who are constipated, eating papayas every day can help regulate their bowel movement.

6. Grapes. Grapes contain important ingredients such as tannins, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These chemicals are believed to give grapes their anti-cancer properties. Grapes are beneficial for those recuperating from an illness, and those who have anemia and fatigue. In fact, during Mahatma Gandhi’s long fasts, he would drink grape juice to keep his strength up. For those on a diet, limit your intake to seven pieces of grapes per meal. And since grapes are sprayed in the fields, be sure to wash them carefully in running water before eating.

7. Watermelon and melon. Melons have long been used by traditional medicine as a cure for kidney and bladder problems. Melons are rich in potassium and vitamin C. During hot weather, melon drinks are especially soothing and refreshing for the body. They can also help those with mild constipation.

8. Coconuts. Dr. Conrado Dayrit’s book The Truth About Coconut Oil lists several health benefits of virgin coconut oil — treating bacterial infection, fungal diseases such as ringworm, and even HIV-AIDS. Dr. Dayrit lists a number of case studies that show VCO’s beneficial effects for heart disease, diabetes, and boosting one’s immunity.

Coconut water, on the other hand, is good for kidney stones and cleansing one’s digestive tract. Coconut water is low in carbohydrates, low in sugar, and serves as an isotonic beverage, which means it’s good for replenishing the body.

9. Avocados. Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which means it is useful in preventing heart disease and stroke. Avocados also contain potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. These vitamins can help relieve stress and beautify the skin. Avocado’s ingredients can stimulate the production of collagen, which can help prevent wrinkles and smoothen one’s skin. Avocados may also relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Because avocados are easily digestible, they can be given to elderly and bedridden patients.

10. Pineapple. Pineapple contains the unique enzyme bromelain, which may help in digestion and reducing inflammation in the body. Pineapples are excellent sources of manganese and vitamin B, which give the body energy. The high vitamin C content also helps in strengthening one’s immune system. Each cup of pineapple contains 75 calories.

11. Nuts. Though not exactly a fruit, nuts are considered nutritional superfoods, packed with protein, minerals, and fats. Yes, they’re fatty but don’t worry, the fats found in nuts are the good fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Instead of eating junk foods reeking with unhealthy saturated fats (like potato chips and doughnuts), nuts can help reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising good cholesterol (HDL). Nuts also contain vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. And above all, nuts are good for the brain. They may indeed make you smarter.

Locally, we have nilagang mani (boiled peanuts) and cashew nuts. But take note that eating too much nuts (it’s so addicting) can make you fat, around 150 calories per ounce. Ouch! Eat a handful, not a bowlful.

And so, this hot summer, remember to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day and consume more of these super fruits.

source: Philippine Star